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Gregg Allman

American musician

Gregory LeNoir Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He was known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band. Allman grew up with an interest in rhythm and blues music, and the Allman Brothers Band fused it with rock music, jazz, and country at times. He wrote several of the band's biggest songs, including "Whipping Post", "Melissa", and "Midnight Rider". Allman also had a successful solo career, releasing seven studio albums. He was born and spent much of his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, before relocating to Daytona Beach, Florida and then Richmond Hill, Georgia.

He and his brother, Duane Allman, formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, which reached mainstream success with their 1971 live albumAt Fillmore East. Shortly thereafter, Duane was killed in a motorcycle crash. The band continued, with Brothers and Sisters (1973) their most successful album. Allman began a solo career with Laid Back the same year, and was perhaps most famous for his marriage to pop star Cher for the rest of the decade. He had an unexpected late career hit with his cover of the song "I'm No Angel" in 1987, and his seventh solo album, Low Country Blues (2011), saw the highest chart positions of his career. Throughout his life, Allman struggled with alcohol and substance abuse, which formed the basis of his memoir My Cross to Bear (2012). His final album, Southern Blood, was released posthumously on September 8, 2017.

Allman performed with a Hammond organ and guitar, and was recognized for his soulful voice. For his work in music, Allman was referred to as a Southern rock pioneer[1] and received numerous awards, including one Grammy Award; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His distinctive voice placed him 70th in the Rolling Stone list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[2]

Early life[edit]

Gregory LeNoir Allman was born on December 8, 1947 at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee to Geraldine Robbins Allman (1917–2015) and Willis Turner Allman (1918–1949). The couple had met during World War II in Raleigh, North Carolina when Allman was on leave from the U.S. Army, and were later married. Their first child, Duane Allman, was born in Nashville in 1946. On December 26, 1949, Willis offered a hitchhiker a ride home and was subsequently shot and killed in Norfolk, Virginia.[4][5] Geraldine moved to Nashville with her two sons and never remarried. Lacking money to support her children, she enrolled in college to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)—state laws at the time, according to her son, required students to live on-campus.[7]

As a result, Gregg and his older brother were sent to Castle Heights Military Academy in nearby Lebanon. A young Gregg interpreted these actions as evidence of his mother's dislike for him, though he later came to understand the reality: "She was actually sacrificing everything she possibly could—she was working around the clock, getting by just by a hair, so as to not send us to an orphanage, which would have been a living hell." While his brother adapted to his surroundings with a defiant attitude, Allman felt largely depressed at the school. With little to do, he studied often and developed an interest in medicine—had he not gone into music, he hoped to become a dentist.[9] He was rarely hazed at Castle Heights as his brother protected him, but often suffered beatings from instructors when he received poor grades. The brothers returned to Nashville upon their mother's graduation, and moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1959.[7] Allman would later recall two separate events in his life that led to his interest in music. In 1960, the two brothers attended a concert in Nashville with Jackie Wilson headlining alongside Otis Redding, B.B. King, and Patti LaBelle.[9] Allman was also exposed to music through Jimmy Banes, a mentally handicapped neighbor of his grandmother in Nashville, who introduced him to the guitar.

Gregg worked as a paper boy to afford a Silvertone guitar, which he purchased at a Sears when he saved up enough funds.[7] Like his brother, he was left-handed, but played the guitar right-handed. He and his brother often fought to play the instrument, though there was "no question that music brought" the two together. In Daytona, they joined a YMCA group called the Y Teens, their first experience performing music with others. He and Duane returned to Castle Heights in their teen years, where they formed a band, the Misfits.[14] Despite this, he still felt "lonesome and out of place", and quit the academy. He returned to Daytona Beach and pursued music further, and the duo formed another band, the Shufflers, in 1963. He attended high school at Seabreeze High School, where he graduated in 1965. However, he grew undisciplined in his studies as his interests diverged: "Between the women and the music, school wasn't a priority anymore."

Musical beginnings[edit]

First bands (1960–1968)[edit]

We would rehearse every day in the club, go have lunch, rehearse some more, go home and take a shower, then go to the gig. Sometimes we would rehearse after we got home from the gig too, just get out the acoustics and play. The next day, we'd go have breakfast, go rehearse, and do it all over again. We rehearsed constantly.

 —Allman on his musical evolution

The two Allman brothers began meeting various musicians in the Daytona Beach area. They met a man named Floyd Miles, and they began to jam with his band, the Houserockers. "I would just sit there and study Floyd ... I studied how he phrased his songs, how he got the words out, and how the other guys sang along with him", he would later recall. They later formed their first "real" band, the Escorts, which performed a mix of top 40 and R&B music at clubs around town. Duane, who took the lead vocal role on early demos, encouraged his younger brother to sing instead. He and Duane often spent all of their money on records, as they attempted to learn songs from them. The group performed constantly as music became their entire focus; Allman missed his high school graduation because he was performing that evening. In his autobiography, Allman recalls listening to Nashville R&B station WLAC at night and discovering artists such as Muddy Waters, who later became central to his musical evolution. He avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War by intentionally shooting himself in the foot.

The Escorts evolved into the Allman Joys, the brothers' first successful band. After a successful summer run locally, they hit the road in fall 1965 for a series of performances throughout the Southeast; their first show outside Daytona was at the Stork Club in Mobile, Alabama, where they were booked for 22 weeks straight.[24] Afterwards, they were booked at the Sahara Club in nearby Pensacola, Florida, for several weeks.[25] Allman later regarded Pensacola as "a real turning point in my life", as it was where he learned how to capture audiences and about stage presence. He also received his first Vox keyboard there, and learned how to play it over the ensuing tour. By the following summer, they were able to book time at a studio in Nashville, where they recorded several songs, aided by a plethora of drugs. These recordings were later released as Early Allman in 1973, to Allman's dismay. He soon grew tired of performing covers and began writing original compositions. They settled in St. Louis, Missouri for a time, where in the spring of 1967 they began performing alongside Johnny Sandlin and Paul Hornsby, among others, under various names. They considered disbanding, but Bill McEuen, manager of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, convinced the band to relocate to Los Angeles, giving them the funds to do so.

He arranged a recording contract with Liberty Records in June 1967, and they began to record an album under the new name the Hour Glass, suggested by their producer, Dallas Smith. Recording was a difficult experience; "the music had no life to it—it was poppy, preprogrammed shit", Allman felt. Though they considered themselves sellouts, they needed money to live. At concerts, they declined to play anything off their debut album, released that October, instead opting to play the blues. Such gigs were sparse, however, as Liberty only allowed one performance per month. After some personnel changes, they recorded their second album, Power of Love, released in March 1968. It contained more original songs by Allman, though they still felt constricted by its process. The band broke up when Duane explicitly told off executives at Liberty. They threatened to freeze the band, so they would be unable to record for any other label for seven years. Allman stayed behind to appease the label, giving them the rights to a solo album. The rest of the band mocked Allman, viewing him as too scared to leave and return to the South. Meanwhile, Duane began doing session work at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he began putting together a new band. He phoned his brother with the proposition of joining the new band—which would have two guitarists and two drummers. With his deal at Liberty fulfilled, he drove to Jacksonville, Florida, in March 1969 to jam with the new band. He called the birth of the group "one of the finer days in my life ... I was starting to feel like I belonged to something again."

The Allman Brothers Band and mainstream success[edit]

Main article: The Allman Brothers Band

Formation, touring, and Duane's death (1969–1971)[edit]

The Allman Brothers Band moved to Macon, Georgia, and forged a strong brotherhood, spending countless hours rehearsing, consuming psychedelic drugs, and hanging out in Rose Hill Cemetery, where they would write songs and more—"I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my way with a lady or two down there", said Allman. In addition to Gregg, the band included Duane and Dickey Betts on guitar, Berry Oakley on bass, and Jaimoe and Butch Trucks on drums.[42] The group remade blues numbers like "Trouble No More" and "One Way Out", in addition to improvising jams. Gregg, who had struggled to write in the past, became the band's main songwriter, composing songs such as "Whipping Post" and "Midnight Rider". The group's self-titled debut album was released in November 1969 through Atco and Capricorn Records,[45] but suffered from poor sales. The band played continuously in 1970, performing over 300 dates on the road, which contributed to a larger following. Their second record, Idlewild South, was issued in September 1970, and also received a muted commercial response.

Allman's elder brother Duane, who was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971

Their fortunes began to change over the course of 1971, where the band's average earnings doubled. "We realized that the audience was a big part of what we did, which couldn't be duplicated in a studio. A lightbulb finally went off; we needed to make a live album", said Gregg.At Fillmore East, recorded at the Fillmore East in New York, was released in July 1971.At Fillmore East peaked at number thirteen on Billboard'sTop Pop Albums chart, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America that October, becoming their commercial and artistic breakthrough. Although suddenly very wealthy and successful, much of the band and its entourage now struggled with addiction to numerous drugs; they all agreed to quit heroin, but cocaine remained a problem. His last conversation with Duane was an argument over cocaine: Gregg took some of his brother's supply, and later denied it when accused. In his memoir, My Cross to Bear, Gregg wrote: "I have thought of that lie every day of my life ... told him that lie, and he told me that he was sorry and that he loved me."

Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971 in Macon. At his funeral, Gregg performed "Melissa", which was his brother's favorite song. "I tried to play and I tried to sing, but I didn't do too much writing. In the days and weeks that followed, ... I wondered if I'd ever find the passion, the energy, the love of making music", he remembered. As the band took some time apart to process their loss, At Fillmore East became a major success domestically. "What we had been trying to do for all those years finally happened, and he was gone," Gregg remembered. He later expanded upon his brother's passing in his memoir:

When I got over being angry, I prayed to him to forgive me, and I realized that my brother had a blast. ... Not that I got over it—I still ain't gotten over it. I don't know what getting over it means, really. I don't stand around crying anymore, but I think about him every day of my life. ... Maybe a lot of learning how to grieve was that I had to grow up a little bit and realize that death is part of life. Now I can talk to my brother in the morning, and he answers me at night. I've opened myself to his death and accepted it, and I think that's the grieving process at work.

Mainstream success and fame (1972–1976)[edit]

After Duane's death, the band held a meeting on their future; it was clear all wanted to continue, and after a short period, the band returned to the road. They completed their third studio album, Eat a Peach, that winter, which raised each member's spirits: "The music brought life back to us all, and it was simultaneously realized by every one of us. We found strength, vitality, newness, reason, and belonging as we worked on finishing Eat a Peach", said Allman.Eat a Peach was released the following February, and it became the band's second hit album, shipping gold and peaking at number four on Billboard's album chart.[42] "We'd been through hell, but somehow we were rolling bigger than ever", Allman recalled. The band purchased 432 acres of land in Juliette, Georgia, which became a group hangout. Berry Oakley, however, was visibly suffering from the death of his friend, and in November 1972 he too was killed in a motorcycle crash. "Upset as I was, I kind of breathed a sigh of relief, because Berry's pain was finally over", Allman said.

The band unanimously decided to carry on, and enlisted Lamar Williams on bass and Chuck Leavell on piano. The band began recording Brothers and Sisters, their follow-up album, and Betts became the group's de facto leader during the recording process.[67] Meanwhile, after some internal disagreements, Allman began recording a solo album, which he titled Laid Back. The sessions for both albums often overlapped and its creation caused tension within the rest of the band. Both albums were released in late 1973, with Brothers and Sisters cementing the Allman Brothers' place among the biggest rock bands of the 1970s. "Everything that we'd done before—the touring, the recording—culminated in that one album", Allman recalled. "Ramblin' Man", Betts' country-infused number, rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and gave the band their biggest hit.[42] The group returned to touring, and played arenas and stadiums almost solely. Privately, the group was dealing with miscommunication and spiraling drug problems.[42] In 1974, the band was regularly making $100,000 per show, and was renting the Starship, a customized Boeing 720B used by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. "When [we] got that goddamn plane, it was the beginning of the end", said Allman.

Band member relationships became increasingly frustrated, amplified by heavy drug and alcohol abuse. In January 1975, Allman began a relationship with pop star Cher—which made him more "famous for being famous than for his music", according to biographer Alan Paul. The sessions that produced 1975's Win, Lose or Draw, the last album by the original Allman Brothers Band, were disjointed and inconsistent. Upon its release, it was considered subpar and sold less than its predecessor; the band later remarked that they were "embarrassed" by the album. Though their relationships were fraying, the Allman Brothers Band went on tour for some of the biggest crowds of their career. Allman later pointed to a benefit for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter as the only real "high point" in an otherwise "rough, rough tour". The "breaking point" came when Allman testified in the trial of security man Scooter Herring, who was arrested and soon convicted on five counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.[42] Bandmates considered Allman a "snitch", and he received death threats, leading to law-enforcement protection. Herring received a 75-year prison sentence, but he only served eighteen months. The band refused to communicate with Allman after the ordeal and finally broke up. Leavell, Williams, and Jaimoe continued playing together in Sea Level, Betts formed Great Southern, and Allman founded the Gregg Allman Band.

Mid-career and struggles[edit]

Marriages, breakups, and music (1977–1981)[edit]

Allman with then-wife Cherin 1975.

Allman married Cher in June 1975, and the two lived in Hollywood during their years together as tabloid favorites.[4] Their marriage produced one son, Elijah Blue Allman, who was born in July 1976. He recorded his second solo album, Playin' Up a Storm, with the Gregg Allman Band, and it was released in May 1977. He also worked on a collaborative album with Cher titled Two the Hard Way, which, upon its release, was a massive failure.[67] The couple went to Europe to tour in support of both albums,[83] though the crowd reception was mixed. With a combination of Allman Brothers fans and Cher fans, fights often broke out in venues, which led Cher to cancel the tour. Turmoil began to overwhelm their relationship, and the two divorced in 1978.[86] Allman returned to Daytona Beach to stay with his mother, spending the majority of his time partying, chasing women, and touring with the Nighthawks, a blues band.

The Allman Brothers Band reunited in 1978. Allman remembered that each member had their own reasons for rejoining, though he surmised it was a combination of displeasure with how things ended, missing each other, and a need for money. The band's reunion album, Enlightened Rogues, was released in February 1979 and was a mild commercial success. Betts's lawyer, Steve Massarsky, began managing the group, and led the band to sign with Arista, who pushed the band to "modernize" their sound. Drugs remained a problem with the band, particularly for Betts and Allman. The band again grew apart, replacing Jaimoe with new guitarist Dan Toler's brother Frankie. The band considered their post-reunion albums—Reach for the Sky (1980) and Brothers of the Road (1981)—"embarrassing", and subsequently broke up in 1982. "It was like a whole different band made those records ... In truth, though, I was just too drunk most of the time to care one way or the other", Allman would recall.

Downtime, a surprise hit, and another reformation (1982–1990)[edit]

No two ways about it, the '80s were rough. ... It was seven years of going, 'What is it that I do?' Being self-employed your whole life, that becomes a certain rock, a reinforcement. When that's gone, not only are you bored stiff, but you just want to cry—'What do I do? I know I used to serve a purpose.'

 —Allman reflecting on his career in the 1980s

Allman spent much of the 1980s adrift and living in Sarasota, Florida with friends. His alcohol abuse was at one of its worst points, with Allman consuming "a minimum of a fifth of vodka a day." He felt the local police pursued him heavily; during this time, he was arrested and charged with a DUI. While he did not consider himself "washed up", he noted in his autobiography that he kept a "fear of everybody forgetting about you." Southern rock had faded from view and electronic music formed much of the pop music of the decade. "There was hardly anybody playing live music, and those who did were doing it for not much money, in front of some die-hard old hippies in real small clubs", he later recalled. Nevertheless, he reformed the Gregg Allman Band and toured nationwide. At one point, he attempted to reconnect with his children, though, according to him, "it just wasn't a good situation".

By 1986, having grown tired of financial instability, Allman approached Betts for a co-headlining tour, a sort-of Allman Brothers reunion. After recording several demos, Allman was offered a recording contract by Epic Records. His third solo release, I'm No Angel (1987), sold well; its title track became a surprise hit on radio. Allman released another solo album the following year, Just Before the Bullets Fly, though it did not sell as well as its predecessor. In the late 1980s, he moved to Los Angeles. He married Danielle Galliano in what he dubbed midlife crisis. The marriage began with Allman overdosing—"so [it] started off with a bang", he said. He dabbled in acting for the first time, taking a small part in the film Rush Week (1989), and his final role two years later in Rush. Allman greatly enjoyed the experience: "It was a different facet of the entertainment industry, and I wanted to see how those people worked together." The Allman Brothers Band celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 1989, and the band reunited once more for a summer tour, with Jaimoe again on drums. They featured guitarist Warren Haynes and pianist Johnny Neel, both from the Dickey Betts Band, and bassist Allen Woody. The band returned to the studio with longtime producer Tom Dowd for 1990's Seven Turns, which was considered a return to form.[42] "Good Clean Fun" and "Seven Turns" each became big hits on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The addition of Haynes and Woody had "reenergized" the ensemble.

Reforming the band and breaking addictions (1991–2000)[edit]

The newly reformed Allman Brothers began touring heavily, which helped build a new fan base: "We had to build a fan base all over again, but as word of mouth spread about how good the music was, more and more people took notice. It felt great, man, and that really helped the music", Allman recalled. Neel left the group and the band added percussionist Marc Quiñones, formerly of Spyro Gyra, the following year. They recorded two more studio albums—Shades of Two Worlds (1992) and Where It All Begins. In 1993 his youngest daughter Layla Brooklyn Allman was born while Gregg was living in Novato, California. When his relationship with Shelby Blackburn ended, Layla and Shelby moved back to Los Angeles. Allman's older daughter, Island, came to live with him in Novato, and despite early struggles, they eventually grew very close. "Island is the love of my life, she really is", he would later write. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1995; Allman was severely inebriated and could barely make it through his acceptance speech. Seeing the ceremony broadcast on television later, Allman was mortified, providing a catalyst for his final, successful attempt to quit alcohol and substance abuse. He hired two in-home nurses that switched twelve-hour shifts to help him through the process. He was immensely happy to finally quit alcohol, writing later in his autobiography: "Did I get any positive anything out of all that? And you've got to admit to yourself, no, I didn't. You can see what happened and that by the grace of God, you finally quit before it killed you."

For much of the 1990s, Allman lived in Marin County, California, spending his free time with close friends and riding his motorcycle. He recorded a fifth solo album, Searching for Simplicity, which was quietly released on 550 Music in 1997.[67] The album's title reflected his search "for a more simple life" following his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol.[118] Despite positive developments in his personal life, relationships began declining in the band yet again. Haynes and Woody left to focus on Gov't Mule, feeling as though a break was imminent. The group recruited Oteil Burbridge of the Aquarium Rescue Unit to replace Woody on bass, and Jack Pearson on guitar. Concerns arose over the increasing loudness of Allman Brothers shows, which were largely centered on Betts. "It had ceased to be a band—everything had to be based around what Dickey was playing", said Allman. Pearson, struggling with tinnitus, left as a result. Butch Trucks phoned his nephew, Derek Trucks, to join the band for their thirtieth anniversary tour. Anger boiled over within the group towards Betts, which led to all original members sending him a letter, informing him of their intentions to tour without him. All involved contended that the break was temporary, but Betts responded by hiring a lawyer and suing the group, which led to a permanent divorce. That August, Woody was found dead in a hotel room in New York, which hit Allman particularly hard. In 2001, Haynes rejoined the band, setting the stage for over a decade of stability within the group.

Later life[edit]

Touring and health problems (2000–2011)[edit]

Allman during the Allman Brothers Band's annual residency at the Beacon Theaterin New York in 2009

Allman moved to Richmond Hill, Georgia, in 2000, purchasing five acres on the Belfast River.[128] The last incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band was well-regarded among fans and the general public, and remained stable and productive.[42] The band released their final studio album, Hittin' the Note (2003), to critical acclaim.[129] Allman co-wrote many songs on the record with Haynes, and he regarded it as his favorite album by the group since their earliest days. The band continued to tour throughout the 2000s, remaining a top touring act, regularly attracting more than 20,000 fans.[42] The decade closed with a successful fortieth anniversary celebration at the Beacon Theater, where the band would hold residencies most years during their reunion. In 2014, the Allman Brothers Band performed their final concerts, as Haynes and Derek Trucks desired to depart the group.[131][132]

Allman struggled with health problems during the last years of his life. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2007, which he attributed to a dirty tattoo needle. By the next year, three tumors were discovered within his liver. He went on a waiting list and after five months, he underwent a successful liver transplant in 2010.[135]

In 2011, Allman went public about his battle with hepatitis C. He headlined Merck and the American Liver Foundation's "Tune In to Hep C Campaign" to raise awareness and urge baby boomers to get tested and treated.[136] As part of Tune In to Hep C, The Allman Brothers Band headlined a hepatitis C fundraiser and awareness concert at the Beacon Theater in New York. The concert raised $250,000 to benefit the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable and the American Liver Foundation for education and awareness efforts.[137] The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable in October 2017 created the Gregg Allman Hepatitis C Leadership Award – an annual award to posthumously honor Allman and others who work on behalf of people living with hepatitis C. Michael Lehman, Allman's longtime manager, accepted the award on his behalf.[138]

Allman's seventh album, Low Country Blues, was produced by T-Bone Burnett. Upon its release in January 2011, it represented Allman's highest-ever chart peak in the U.S., debuting at number five.[139] He promoted the album heavily in Europe, until he had to cancel the rest of the trip due to an upper respiratory infection. This led to lung surgery later in 2011,[128] and rehab in 2012 for addiction following his treatments. That year, Allman released his memoir, My Cross to Bear, which was 30 years in the making.[142] In 2014, a tribute concert was held celebrating his career; it was later released as All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman.[143]

Final years and death (2012–2017)[edit]

Allman performing in 2011

After the dissolution of the Allman Brothers, Allman kept busy performing music with his solo band, releasing the live album Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA in 2015.[144] In 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from Mercer University in Macon, presented by former President Jimmy Carter.[145] However, his health problems remained; he had atrial fibrillation, and though he kept it private, his liver cancer had returned. "He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn't", his manager Michael Lehman said.[146] He attempted to keep a light schedule at the advice of doctors, who warned that too many performances might amplify his conditions.[143] His last concert took place in Atlanta at his own Laid Back Festival along with ZZ Top at Lakewood Amphitheatre on October 29, 2016[147] (the 45th anniversary of his brother's death), and he continued to cancel concerts citing "serious health issues".[146] He denied reports that he had entered hospice care, but was resting at home on doctor's orders.[148]

Allman died at his home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on May 27, 2017, due to complications from liver cancer[149][150] at the age of 69.[151] His funeral took place at Snow's Memorial Chapel in Macon on June 3, and was attended by once-estranged bandmate Dickey Betts, his ex-wife Cher, and former President Carter, among others. According to Rolling Stone, the mourners dressed casually in jeans per Allman's request, and "hundreds of fans, many wearing Allman Brothers shirts and listening to the band's music, lined the route along the funeral procession."[152] He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, beside his brother Duane, and fellow band member Berry Oakley.[153]

Before his death, Allman recorded his last album, Southern Blood, with producer Don Was at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The album was recorded with his then-current backing band.[154] The album was released on September 8, 2017,[155] and received critical acclaim.[156]

In My Cross to Bear, Allman reflected on his life and career:

Music is my life's blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it's all said and done, I'll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, "Nice work, little brother—you did alright." I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast.

Musical style and songwriting[edit]

Allman's style was rooted in rhythm and blues music. He characterized his work with the Allman Brothers Band as "playing some blues with some jazz mixed in." He was introduced to blues music through musician and childhood friend Floyd Miles, who later toured with Allman as a part of his solo band.[160] He also gave him advice on how to sing from his stomach, as opposed to his chest. Allman was inspired by "Little Milton" Campbell, who "inspired me all my life to get my voice crisper, get my diaphragm harder, use less air, and just spit it out. He taught me to be absolutely sure of every note you hit, and to hit it solid." After his death, many outlets credited Allman as among the greatest white blues vocalists of his time.[162] Many close to Allman disputed this, with son Devon Allman commenting, "My dad didn't see color. ... I know people mean well when they say the best white blues singer, but I say take white off of there, because he was just one of the best ever. He just channeled so much feeling."[163] Jaimoe called the label "straight bullshit. He's a great blues singer. A great singer, period."[164] An editorial published in the Roanoke Times questioned that while Allman could rightfully be considered a cultural appropriator, "Is that not the nature of music, or art in general, that it borrows from different cultures to create something new?"[165] Likewise, A Newsweek tribute to Allman noted that "Ray Charles took grief for making a country and western album, too."[166]

As a songwriter, Allman wrote several famous songs, including "Whipping Post", "Melissa", and "Midnight Rider", which he dubbed the "song I'm most proud of in my career". He could be a very slow songwriter, writing only when inspiration struck. If the song was forced, he felt it could end up contrived. In My Cross to Bear, his 2012 memoir, he laid out his approach to songwriting: the first verse introduces a story, it is expounded upon in the second, and the third may serve as an epilogue. Allman credited singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk, whom he first met while touring with the Allman Joys, as an influence on his writing. "[He] taught me to let the song come to me, not to force it, not to put down a word just because it might rhyme or fit. He taught me to let the feeling come from your heart and go to your head." Allman received the Songwriter Award from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in the last year of his life.[169]

Personal life[edit]

Allman was married seven times:

  • He married Shelley Kay Jefts in 1971; they divorced the following year. They had a son, Devon.
  • He married Janice Blair in 1973; they divorced in 1974. She is pictured on the sleeve of Laid Back.
  • His most well-known relationship was with Cher, whom he married in 1975. They had a son, Elijah Blue, and divorced in 1978.
  • He wed Julie Bindas in 1979; they had a daughter, Delilah Island, and divorced in 1981.
  • He married Danielle Galliano in 1989; they divorced in 1994.
  • His longest marriage was to Stacey Fountain, from 2001 to 2008—"seven out-of-sight years", he remarked.
  • In 2012, he announced his engagement to Shannon Williams, who was 40 years his junior.[171] They were quietly married in February 2017.[172]

In My Cross to Bear, he writes that "Every woman I've ever had a relationship with has loved me for who they thought I was". At the time of its writing, he noted that he only spoke to two out of his then-six ex-wives, including Cher.

Allman had five children, three with various wives and two with other women he had relationships with:

  • son Michael Allman was born on July 3, 1966. He was raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. From his relationship with go-go dancer Mary Lynn Sutton.
  • son Devon Allman (born 1972), lead singer of Honeytribe and The Allman Betts Band, from his marriage to Shelley Kay Jefts;
  • son Elijah Blue Allman (born 1976), lead singer of Deadsy, from his marriage to Cher;
  • daughter Delilah Island Allman (born 1980) from his marriage to Julie Bindas; and
  • daughter Layla Brooklyn Allman (born 1993), lead singer of Picture Me Broken, from a relationship with radio journalist Shelby Blackburn[171]

Allman was averse to organized religion for many years, but claimed he always believed in a God.[174] Following his health ailments in the latter stages of his life, he came around to his own form of Christianity, and began wearing a cross necklace. In his memoir, he stated: "As long as you have spirituality, you're never alone. It's sort of like my mother said all those years ago: now I have my own kind of faith, just like other people. They take what they want of faith, and they leave the rest alone, and I do the same. That's the way it should be." He credited his sixth wife, Stacey Fountain, with helping him increase his faith.


Main article: Gregg Allman discography

See also: The Allman Brothers Band discography






See also[edit]


  1. ^Sources:
    • Lewis, Andy (April 30, 2012). "My Cross to Bear". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
    • Morris, Chris (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Southern Rock Pioneer, Dies at 69". Variety. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
    • Gehr, Richard (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Southern Rock Pioneer, Dead at 69". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  2. ^"Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Archived from the original on July 3, 2009.
  3. ^ abLewis, Andy (May 16, 2012). "BOOK REVIEW: 'My Cross to Bear' by Gregg Allman With Alan Light". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  4. ^Ollison, Rashod (June 1, 2017). "The night Gregg Allman's dad died in Norfolk". The Virginian Pilot. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  5. ^ abcCrowe, Cameron (December 6, 1973). "The Allman Brothers Story". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  6. ^ abHersh, Allison (August 2007). "At Home With Gregg Allman". Southern Living. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  7. ^Allman, Gladrielle (2014). Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. New York City: Spiegel & Grau. p. 70. ISBN .
  8. ^Specker, Lawrence (December 18, 2012). "Mobile holds memories for Gregg Allman, who plays Saenger Dec. 30". Press-Register. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  9. ^Moon, Troy (November 1, 2009). "'Florida Rocks Again!'". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on December 5, 2009.
  10. ^Jim Beviglia (May 30, 2017). "The Allman Brothers Band, "Melissa"". American Songwriter. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  11. ^ abcdefghEder, Bruce. "The Allman Brothers Band – All Music Guide". AllMusic. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  12. ^Freeman, Scott (1996). Midnight Riders: The Story of the Allman Brothers Band. Little, Brown and Company. p. 59. ISBN .
  13. ^ abcEder, Bruce. "Gregg Allman – All Music Guide". AllMusic. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  14. ^Gruber, Ruth (November 16, 1977). "Gregg and Cher are singing together". United Press International.
  15. ^Quirk, Lawrence J. (1991). Totally Uninhibited: The Life and Wild Times of Cher. William Morrow and Company. ISBN . p. 118.
  16. ^Ray Hogan (November 23, 1997). "Gregg Allman: Searching for Simplicity". Daily Advocate. Stamford, Connecticut. p. D1–D6.
  17. ^ abDeYoung, Bill (January 17, 2012). "Beating back the blues". Connect Savannah. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  18. ^Serpick, Evan (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1136 pp. First edition, 2001.
  19. ^Doyle, Patrick (January 8, 2014). "Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks Leaving Allman Brothers Band", Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  20. ^"The Allman Brothers Band bids farewell to stage". CBS News. October 28, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  21. ^"Gregg Allman undergoes successful liver transplant". June 24, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2017 – via Associated Press.
  22. ^Sharon Tanenbaum, "Gregg Allman: Living With Chronic Hepatitis C", "Everyday Health", December 13, 2011
  23. ^American Liver Foundation Press Release "Tune In to Hep C Benefit Concert Raises Over $250,000 for Community-Based Groups Supporting People with Chronic Hepatitis C", American Liver Foundation, July 28, 2011
  24. ^News via Gregg Allman's Official Website, "Gregg to be honored with Memorial Advocacy Award",", October 19, 2017
  25. ^"Gregg Allman – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  26. ^Elias, Paty (May 14, 2012). "Exclusive Interview with Gregg Allman on his new book, 'My Cross to Bear'". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  27. ^ abIves, Brian (May 7, 2014). "Interview: Gregg Allman on His New Diet, 'All My Friends,' and the Future of The Allmans". Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  28. ^Paul, Alan (July 29, 2015). "Gregg Allman Plans His Solo Future". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  29. ^Vejnoska, Jill (May 16, 2016). "Jimmy Carter helps give Gregg Allman honorary degree". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  30. ^ abRuss Bynum and Kristin M. Hall (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Southern rock trailblazer who led Allman Brothers Band, dies at 69". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  31. ^Sweeting, Adam (May 28, 2017). "Gregg Allman obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  32. ^Aswad, Jem (April 24, 2017). "Gregg Allman Has Not Entered Hospice Care, Manager Insists". Variety. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  33. ^Morris, Chris (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Southern Rock Pioneer, Dies at 69". Variety. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  34. ^Gehr, Richard (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Southern Rock Pioneer, Dead at 69". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  35. ^Wilker, Deborah (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Soulful Trailblazer of Southern Rock, Dies at 69". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  36. ^Daniel Kreps (June 3, 2017). "Gregg Allman Laid to Rest at Macon Funeral". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  37. ^Brandon Griggs (May 27, 2017). "Music legend Gregg Allman dies at 69". CNN. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  38. ^Triola, Carmen (July 20, 2016). "An Interview with Gregg Allman: On His New Album, Alabama, And Good Vibes". The Aquarian. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  39. ^Knopper, Steve (September 6, 2017). "Review: Gregg Allman says goodbye with heart and spirit". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  40. ^"Reviews for Southern Blood by Gregg Allman". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  41. ^Jason Ankeny. "Floyd Miles". Allmusic. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  42. ^Sources crediting Allman as a "white blues singer":
    • Jon Bream (May 30, 2017). "Music critic reflects on 40-some years of being hooked on Gregg Allman". Star Tribune. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
    • Dan Rys (May 27, 2017). "The 20 Greatest Allman Brothers Band Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
    • Alan Paul (May 27, 2017). "Gregg Allman, Singer and Songwriter Most Well Known for the Allman Brothers Band, Dies". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  43. ^Gary Graff (May 30, 2017). "Gregg Allman's Son Devon on His Dad's Legacy, Possible Birthday Concert: 'His Music Will Last Forever'". Billboard. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  44. ^Alan Paul (June 2, 2017). "Allman Brothers Drummer Jaimoe Remembers Gregg Allman's Many Talents". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  45. ^"Editorial: Gregg Allman and the virtues of cultural appropriation". The Roanoke Times. June 2, 2017. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  46. ^Matthew Cooper (May 28, 2017). "Gregg Allman: Southern Pride Without the Confederacy". Newsweek. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  47. ^Melissa Ruggieri (June 3, 2016). "Drivin' N' Cryin', Gregg Allman, Sam Moore set to be inducted into Georgia Music Hall of Fame". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  48. ^ ab"Gregg Allman, 64, engaged to 24-year-old woman". Los Angeles: ABC7. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  49. ^Jem Aswad (May 29, 2017). "Gregg Allman's Longtime Manager Recalls the Singer's Final Days and Their Career Together (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  50. ^Talbott, Chris (May 7, 2012). "Love, family, drugs: Gregg Allman tells it all". Associated Press. Retrieved July 13, 2017.

The Allman Brothers Band

American rock band

The Allman Brothers Band

The musicians standing in a line, facing the camera

The Allman Brothers Band, March 1971. From Left to right: Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Jaimoe Johanson, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks.

OriginJacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Years active1969–1976, 1978–1982, 1989–2014
LabelsCapricorn, PolyGram, Arista, Epic, Sanctuary
Associated actsGov't Mule, The Dead, The Derek Trucks Band, Derek and the Dominos, Hour Glass, Great Southern, Sea Level, Les Brers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Widespread Panic
Past membersDuane Allman
Gregg Allman
Dickey Betts
Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson
Berry Oakley
Butch Trucks
Chuck Leavell
Lamar Williams
David Goldflies
Dan Toler
Mike Lawler
David "Frankie" Toler
Warren Haynes
Johnny Neel
Allen Woody
Marc Quiñones
Oteil Burbridge
Jack Pearson
Derek Trucks
Jimmy Herring

The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969[3] by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson (drums). Subsequently, based in Macon, Georgia, the band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group's first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Whipping Post", and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 – and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band's popularity and featured Gregg Allman's "Melissa" and Dickey Betts's "Blue Sky". Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973's Brothers and Sisters. This album included Betts's hit single "Ramblin' Man" and instrumental "Jessica". These tunes went on to become classic rock radio staples, and placed the group at the forefront of 1970s rock music. Internal turmoil overtook them soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.

The band reformed once more in 1989, releasing a string of new albums and touring heavily. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their original drummer) and became renowned for their month-long string of shows at New York City's Beacon Theatre each spring. The band retired for good in October 2014 after their final show at the Beacon Theatre.

Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer on May 27, 2017, at his home in Georgia, also at the age of 69. The band has been awarded seven gold and four platinum albums,[4] and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.[5]


Roots and formation (1965–1969)[edit]

"The Big House", seen here in 2009: The band lived at the house in the early 1970s.

Duane Allman and his younger brother Gregg grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gregg was first to pick up the guitar, but his brother soon surpassed him, dropping out of high school to practice constantly. The duo formed their first band, the Escorts, which evolved into the Allman Joys in the mid-1960s.[7] By 1967, the group spent time in St. Louis, where a Los Angeles-based recording executive discovered them; they consequently moved out West and were renamed the Hour Glass, cutting two unsuccessful albums for Liberty Records.[7] Duane moved back to pursue a career as a session musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, while Gregg stayed behind in Hollywood bound by contractual obligations with Liberty, who believed he could hold a solo career. The two were apart for the first time for a year, but managed to reconvene in Miami, producing an album-length demo with the 31st of February, a group that included drummer Butch Trucks.

At FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Duane Allman became the primary session guitarist, recording with artists such as Aretha Franklin and King Curtis.[7] Duane suggested to Wilson Pickett they record a cover of "Hey Jude" by the Beatles; the single went to number 23 on the national charts. FAME signed Duane to a five-year recording contract, and he put together a group, including Johnny Sandlin and Paul Hornsby. Duane recruited Jai Johanny Johanson (Jaimoe) after hearing his drumming on a songwriting demo of Jackie Avery, and the two moved into his home on the Tennessee River. Allman invited bassist Berry Oakley to jam with the new group; the pair had met in a Macon, Georgia club some time earlier, and became quick friends. The group had immediate chemistry, and Duane's vision for a "different" band—one with two lead guitarists and two drummers—began evolving. Meanwhile, Phil Walden, the manager of the late Otis Redding and several other R&B acts, was looking to expand into rock acts. FAME owner Rick Hall became frustrated with the group's recording methods, and offered the tracks recorded and their contract to Walden and Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, who purchased them for $10,000. Walden intended the upcoming group to be the centerpiece of his new Atlantic-distributed label, Capricorn.

Duane and Jaimoe moved to Jacksonville in early March 1969, as Duane had become frustrated with being a "robot" of those at FAME. He invited anyone who wanted to join to the jam sessions that birthed the Allman Brothers Band. Dickey Betts, leader of Oakley's previous band, the Second Coming, became the group's second lead guitarist, while Butch Trucks, with whom Duane and Gregg had cut a demo less than a year prior, became the new group's second drummer. The Second Coming's Reese Wynans played keyboards, and Duane, Oakley, and Betts all shared vocal duties. The unnamed group began to perform free shows in Willow Branch Park in Jacksonville, with an ever-changing, rotating cast of musicians. Duane felt strongly his brother should be the vocalist of the new group (which effectively eliminated Wynans's position, as Gregg also played keyboards). Gregg left Los Angeles and entered rehearsal on March 26, 1969, when the group was rehearsing Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More" Although Gregg was initially intimidated by the musicians, Duane pressured his brother into "singing [his] guts out." Four days later, the group made their debut at the Jacksonville Armory. Although many names were kicked around, including Beelzebub, the six-piece eventually decided on the Allman Brothers Band.

Debut and early years (1969–1970)[edit]

See also: The Allman Brothers Band (album)

The group moved to Macon, Georgia by May 1, where Walden was establishing Capricorn Records. Mike Callahan and Joseph "Red Dog" Campbell became the band's early crew members. "Red Dog" was a disabled Vietnam veteran who donated his monthly disability checks to the band's cause. In Macon, the group stayed at friend Twiggs Lyndon's apartment on 309 College Street, which became known as the communal home of the band and crew, nicknamed the Hippie Crash Pad. "There were five or six occupied apartments in the building with the Hippie Crash Pad and you would expect they would call the police on us because we were constantly raising hell at three or four in the morning, but they all just moved out," said Trucks. Living meagerly, they found a friend in "Mama Louise" Hudson, cook and proprietor of the H&H Soul Food Restaurant, who ran a tab when they were short of funds, early on made good with proceeds from Duane's recording sessions on the side. The band's image was radical in the just barely integrated Macon: "A lot of the white folk around here did not approve of them long-haired boys, or of them always having a black guy with them," said Hudson. The band performed locally, as well as 80 miles north in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, and practiced at the newly minted Capricorn nearly each day.

The group forged a strong brotherhood, spending countless hours rehearsing, consuming psychedelic drugs, and hanging out in Rose Hill Cemetery, where they wrote songs. Their first performances outside the South came on May 30 and 31 in Boston, opening for The Velvet Underground. In need of more material, the group remade old blues numbers such as "Trouble No More" and "One Way Out", in addition to improvised jams such as "Mountain Jam". Gregg, who had struggled to write in the past, became the band's sole songwriter, composing songs such as "Whipping Post" and "Black-Hearted Woman". The band was originally set to record their first album in Miami with Cream and John Coltrane producer Tom Dowd, who proved unavailable. Instead, they headed off for New York City in August 1969 to work with Atlantic house engineer Adrian Barber in his first producer credit.The Allman Brothers Band was recorded and mixed in two weeks, and proved a positive experience for the ensemble. New York came to be regarded within the group as their "second home".The Allman Brothers Band was released in November 1969 through Atco and Capricorn Records, but received a poor commercial response, selling less than 35,000 copies upon initial release.

Executives suggested to Walden that he relocate the band to New York or Los Angeles to "acclimate" them to the industry. "They wanted us to act 'like a rock band' and we just told them to fuck themselves," remembered Trucks. For their part, the members of the band remained optimistic, electing to stay in the South. "Everyone told us we'd fall by the wayside down there," said Gregg Allman, but the collaboration between the band and Capricorn Records "transformed Macon from this sleepy little town into a very hip, wild and crazy place filled with bikers and rockers". The band rented a $165-a-month farmhouse on a lake outside of Macon, the busy comings and goings at which reminded them of New York City's Idlewild Airport. Idlewild South was the home of rehearsals and parties, and was "where the brotherhood came to pass," according to roadie Kim Payne; "There was a pact made out there around a campfire—all for one and one for all ... Everybody believed [in the band] 100 percent." Much of the material presented on the band's second album, Idlewild South, originated at the cabin. Oakley's wife rented a large Tudor Revival home on 2321 Vineville Avenue in Macon and the band moved into what they dubbed "the Big House" in March 1970.

Live reputation, At Fillmore East, and breakthrough (1970–1971)[edit]

See also: Idlewild South and At Fillmore East

Duane Allman, the group's leader, was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971.

The band played continuously in 1970, performing over 300 dates on the road traveling in a Ford Econoline van and later, a Winnebago, nicknamed the Wind Bag. Walden doubted the band's future, worrying whether they would ever catch on, but word of mouth spread due to the band's relentless touring schedule, and crowds got larger. The close proximity of the Winnebago brought about heavy drug use within the group, and all in the group, with the exception of the brothers, were struggling to make a living. In one instance, touring manager Twiggs Lyndon stabbed and killed a promoter for not paying the band; he later cited temporary insanity. Later that year, Duane accidentally overdosed on opium after a show. "Idlewild South", produced by Tom Dowd, was recorded gradually over a period of five months in various cities, including New York, Miami, and Macon, and contained two of the band's best-known songs, "Midnight Rider" (later a hit for various artists, including a Top 20 solo effort by Gregg) and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", which became one of the band's famous concert numbers.[7]

Idlewild South was issued by Atco and Capricorn Records in September 1970, less than a year after their debut. The album sold only "marginally better than its predecessor, though the band had a growing national reputation and the album included songs that would become staples of the band's repertoire—and eventually of rock radio." Shortly after completing recording, Dowd put Duane in contact with guitarist Eric Clapton, who invited him to contribute to his new project, Derek and the Dominos. Allman was a huge fan of Clapton's work with Cream, and Clapton had been blown away by Allman's session work on Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude" some years prior. They met after a show one night in Miami and jammed together until the next afternoon, with the two guitarists regarding one another as "instant soulmates". Clapton invited Duane to join Derek and the Dominos, and by several accounts he considered it; in the end, he declined the offer and rejoined the Allman Brothers Band, returning after missing a string of several shows. The sessions were collected on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, issued that November.

Their fortunes began to change over the course of 1971, when the band's average earnings doubled. "We realized that the audience was a big part of what we did, which couldn't be duplicated in a studio. A lightbulb finally went off; we needed to make a live album," said Gregg Allman.At Fillmore East was recorded over three nights—March 11, 12 and 13, 1971—at the Fillmore East in New York, for which the band was paid a nightly $1,250.At Fillmore East was released in July 1971 by Capricorn Records as a double album, "people-priced" for the cost of a single LP. While previous albums by the band had taken months to hit the charts (often near the bottom of the top 200), the record started to climb the charts after a matter of days.At Fillmore East peaked at number 13 on Billboard'sTop Pop Albums chart, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America that October, becoming their commercial and artistic breakthrough. The album is considered among the best live albums of all time, and in 2004 was one of the albums selected for preservation in the Library of Congress, deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" by the National Recording Registry.[59]

Eat a Peach and Duane Allman's and Berry Oakley's deaths (1971–1972)[edit]

See also: Eat a Peach and Brothers and Sisters (album)

Although suddenly very wealthy and successful, many of the band and its entourage now struggled with heroin addiction. Four individuals — group leader Duane Allman, bassist Berry Oakley, and roadies Robert Payne and Red Dog Campbell — checked into the Linwood-Bryant Hospital for rehabilitation in October 1971. On October 29, 1971, Duane Allman, then 24, was killed in a motorcycle accident one day after returning to Macon. Allman was riding his motorcycle at a high speed at the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Bartlett Street as a flatbed truck carrying a lumber crane approached. The truck stopped suddenly in the intersection, forcing Allman to swerve his Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle sharply to the left to avoid a collision. As he was doing so, he struck either the back of the truck or the ball on the lumber crane and was immediately thrown from the motorcycle. The motorcycle bounced into the air, landed on Allman and skidded another 90 feet with Allman pinned underneath, crushing his internal organs. Though he was alive when he arrived at the hospital, despite immediate emergency surgery, he died several hours later from massive internal injuries.

After Duane's death, the band held a meeting on their future; clearly all wanted to continue, and after a short period, the band returned to the road. "We all had this thing in us and Duane put it there. He was the teacher and he gave something to us—his disciples—that we had to play out," said drummer Butch Trucks. The band returned to Miami in December to complete work on their third studio album. Completing the recording of Eat a Peach raised each member's spirits; "The music brought life back to us all, and it was simultaneously realized by every one of us. We found strength, vitality, newness, reason, and belonging as we worked on finishing Eat a Peach," said Allman. "Those last three songs [...] just kinda floated right on out of us [...] The music was still good, it was still rich, and it still had that energy—it was still the Allman Brothers Band." Released in February 1972, Eat a Peach was the band's second hit album, shipping gold and peaking at number four on Billboard'sTop 200 Pop Albums chart.[7] "We'd been through hell, but somehow we were rolling bigger than ever," said Gregg Allman.

The band performed nearly 90 shows in the following year, touring as a five-piece. The band also purchased 432 acres of land in Juliette, Georgia for $160,000 and nicknamed it "the Farm"; it soon became a group hangout and fulfilled bassist Oakley's communal dreams. Oakley, however, was visibly suffering from the death of his friend: he excessively drank and consumed drugs, and was losing weight quickly. According to friends and family, he appeared to have lost "all hope, his heart, his drive, his ambition, [and] his direction" following Duane's death. "Everything Berry had envisioned for everybody—including the crew, the women and children—was shattered on the day Duane died, and he didn't care after that," said roadie Kim Payne. Oakley repeatedly wished to "get high, be high, and stay high," causing quiet concern from all those around him. On November 11, 1972, slightly inebriated and overjoyed at the prospect of leading a jam session later that night, Oakley crashed his motorcycle into the side of a bus, just three blocks from where Duane had been killed. He declined hospital treatment and went home, but gradually grew delirious. He was taken to the hospital shortly thereafter and died of cerebral swelling caused by a fractured skull. Oakley was buried directly beside Duane at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon.

Brothers and Sisters, celebrity, and inner turmoil (1973–1976)[edit]

The band unanimously decided to carry on and arranged auditions for new bassists, with a renewed fervor and determination. Several bassists auditioned, but the band picked Lamar Williams, an old friend of drummer Jai Johanny Johanson's from Gulfport, Mississippi, two years removed from an Army stint in Vietnam.Chuck Leavell was asked to play piano for Allman's solo album, Laid Back (1973), and gradually found himself contributing to the Allman Brothers as well. Dickey Betts became the group's de facto leader during the recording process. "It's not like Dickey came in and said, 'I'm taking over. I'm the boss. Do this and that.' It wasn't overt; it was still supposedly a democracy, but Dickey started doing more and more of the songwriting," said road manager Willie Perkins.Brothers and Sisters was an enormous success, peaking at number one, resulting in the band becoming "the most popular band in the country." "Ramblin' Man", Betts' country-infused number, received interest from radio stations immediately, and it rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]

The Allman Brothers Band returned to touring, playing larger venues, receiving more profit and dealing with less friendship, miscommunication, and spiraling drug problems.[7] This culminated in a backstage brawl when the band played with the Grateful Dead at Washington's RFK Stadium in June 1973, which resulted in the firing of three of the band's longtime roadies. The band played arenas and stadiums almost solely as their drug use escalated. In 1974, the band was regularly making $100,000 per show, and was renting the Starship, a customized Boeing 720B used by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. "When [we] got that goddamn plane, it was the beginning of the end," said Allman. Both Allman and Betts released top-20 solo albums in 1974 (The Gregg Allman Tour and Highway Call).[84]

In July 1974 the band visited Europe for the first time. They had planned to tour Britain and Europe at the beginning of that year, but the 1973-4 energy crisis forced a last-minute postponement.[85] They headlined 2 big out-door events. One, the 'Summerconcert '74' at the Sportpark, Hilversum, Holland, on July 18, attended by 20.000 spectators,[86] and the second one, at 'Bucolic Frolic', the first Knebworth Park Festival,[87] on July 20, where they played a well-received three-hour two-set performance in front of 70.000 fans,[88] from all over Europe.[89]

The sessions that produced 1975's Win, Lose or Draw, the last album by the original Allman Brothers Band, were disjointed and inconsistent; Gregg Allman was largely living in Los Angeles and dating pop star Cher, and was, according to biographer Alan Paul, "[becoming] more famous for being famous than for his music." His vocals were recorded there, as he could not be bothered to return to Macon.[7] Upon its release, it was considered subpar and sold less than its predecessor; the band later remarked that they were "embarrassed" about the album.

From August 1975 to May 1976, the Allman Brothers Band played 41 shows to some of the biggest crowds of their career. Gradually, the members of the band grew apart during these tours, with sound checks and rehearsals "[becoming] a thing of the past." Allman later pointed to a benefit for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter (an avowed fan of the group) as the only real "high point" in an otherwise "rough, rough tour." The shows were considered lackluster and the members were excessive in their drug use. The "breaking point" came when Gregg Allman testified in the trial of security man Scooter Herring.[7] Bandmates considered him a "snitch", and he received death threats, leading to law-enforcement protection. Herring was convicted on five counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and received a 75-year prison sentence, which was later reduced prior to a presidential pardon from Carter. For his part, Allman always maintained that Herring had told him to take the deal to turn state's evidence and that he (Herring) would take the fall; nevertheless, the band refused to communicate with Allman after the incident. As a result, the band finally broke up; Leavell, Williams, and Jaimoe continued playing together in Sea Level, Betts formed Great Southern, and Allman founded the Gregg Allman Band. The 1976 live album Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas was seen as "the last gasp of a dying band," which was unfortunate for the now-foundering Capricorn Records, which desperately needed the band together to stay afloat.

First reunion, subsequent break-up, and interim years (1979–1988)[edit]

In 1978, Allman and Walden first approached Betts with the idea of a reunion. Their first public appearance together came at a Great Southern show in New York's Central Park that summer, when Allman, Trucks, and Jaimoe joined the band for a few songs.[84] Williams and Leavell declined to leave Sea Level, so the Allman Brothers Band hired guitarist Dan Toler and bassist David Goldflies from Great Southern. The band reunited with Tom Dowd at Criteria Studios in Miami to cut their reunion album, which was released in February 1979 as Enlightened Rogues, a term Duane had used to describe the band. While the band "tried to make it happen," they later concluded that the chemistry was not there; the album was a minor commercial success, which was credited to the production work from Dowd. Betts filed a lawsuit against Walden for nonpayment of record and publishing royalties, and Betts's lawyer, Steve Massarsky, began managing the group. Betts won the lawsuit, and the rest of the band filed suit while Capricorn declared bankruptcy that October. Massarsky led the successful effort to sign the band with Arista, which pushed the band to "modernize" their sound. "[Arista founder] Clive Davis destroyed any hope that we had that we could make the thing work again," said Trucks later. "He wanted us to be a Southern American version of Led Zeppelin and brought in outside producers and it just kept getting worse."

Their first Arista effort, Reach for the Sky (1980), was produced by Nashville songwriters Mike Lawler and Johnny Cobb.Bonnie Bramlett, who toured with the band near the end of the decade, sang lead on one song. Lawler soon became a part of the band's touring ensemble, incorporating center-stage keytar solos "that most fans consider the band's nadir." Drugs remained a problem with the band, particularly among Betts and Allman. Although the album was made with the intention of creating a hit single, the genre of Southern rock was waning considerably in the mainstream. The band again grew apart, firing longtime roadie "Red Dog" and replacing Jaimoe with Toler's brother Frankie, who had been a member of Great Southern. The main point of contention was Jaimoe's insistence that his wife and manager, Candace Oakley (Berry's sister), handle his business affairs. "One of the real blights on the history of the Allman Brothers Band was that Jaimoe, this gentle man, was fired from this organization," said Allman later. Not long after, "the band changed managers, hiring the promoter John Scher after Massarsky eased himself out, reportedly saying, 'It's a million-dollar headache and a quarter-million-dollar job.'"

For their second and final album with Arista, Brothers of the Road (1981), they collaborated with a "name producer" (John Ryan, of Styx and the Doobie Brothers), who pushed the band even harder to change their sound. "Straight from the Heart" was the album's single, which became a minor hit but heralded the group's last appearance on the top 40 charts.[84] The band, considering their post-reunion albums "embarrassing", subsequently broke up in 1982 after clashing with Clive Davis, who rejected every producer the band suggested for a possible third album, including Tom Dowd and Johnny Sandlin. "We broke up in '82 because we decided we better just back out or we would ruin what was left of the band's image," said Betts. The band's final performance came on Saturday Night Live in January 1982, where they performed "Southbound" and "Leavin'". The members regrouped occasionally in the intervening years; in 1986, Betts and Allman toured together, with each opening for one another and collaborating for a set. The full Allman Brothers Band--Allman, Betts, Trucks, Jaimoe, Leavell and Dan Toler--also reunited twice in 1986 for the Volunteers Jam and Crackdown on Crack concerts. Allman's solo career began looking up when he released his first solo album in over a decade in 1987, I'm No Angel. The title track became a surprise hit on radio, peaking at No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the magazine's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Second reunion and heavy touring (1989–1996)[edit]

Guitarist Warren Haynes, seen here in the late 1990s, joined the band for their second reunion.

The Allman Brothers Band celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 1989, and the band reunited for a summer tour, with Jaimoe once again on drums. In addition, they featured guitarist Warren Haynes and pianist Johnny Neel, both from the Dickey Betts Band, and bassist Allen Woody, who was hired after open auditions held at Trucks' Florida studio. The classic rock radio format had given the band's catalog songs new relevance, as did a multi-CD retrospective box set, Dreams.Epic, who had worked with Allman on his solo career, signed the band. Danny Goldberg became the band's manager; he had previously worked with acts such as Led Zeppelin and Bonnie Raitt. The group were initially reluctant to tour, but found they performed solidly; in addition, former roadies such as "Red Dog" returned. The band returned to the studio with longtime producer Tom Dowd for 1990's Seven Turns, which was considered a return to form.[7] "Good Clean Fun" and "Seven Turns" each became big hits on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The addition of Haynes and Woody had "reenergized" the ensemble. Neel left the group in 1990, and the band added percussionist Marc Quiñones, formerly of Spyro Gyra, the following year.

The band performed 87 shows in 1991, and 77 the following year. The band did not renew Goldberg's contract as manager, and as a result, their tour manager, Bert Holman, became the band's full-time manager in 1991 and remained so for the rest of their career. Their next studio effort, Shades of Two Worlds (1992), produced the crowd favorite "Nobody Knows". The band also released a live album, An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: First Set, recorded at their 1992 residency at New York's Beacon Theatre. The band performed ten consecutive shows there (establishing themselves as a "New York rite of spring", according to biographer Alan Paul), which set the stage for their return nearly every year afterward. The band grew contentious over a 1993 tour, in which Betts was arrested when he shoved two police officers. Struggling to find a replacement guitarist, they brought in David Grissom (then touring with John Mellencamp), and also Jack Pearson, a Nashville-based friend of Haynes (the original replacement, Zakk Wylde, filled in for a show but his onstage antics did not fit with the band). Haynes was both opening with his own band and headlining with the Allman Brothers, and began to consider leaving the group, due to their increasing lack of communication.

Despite the growing tension, Haynes remained a member and Betts returned. Their third post-reunion record, Where It All Begins (1994), was recorded entirely live on a film soundstage (without an audience). "The Allman Brothers was a year-by-year thing. There was no indication that it was capable of staying together for years to come. We all looked at it as each tour could be the last one, and there was no reason to think otherwise," said Haynes. The band continued to tour with greater frequency, attracting younger generations with their headlining of the H.O.R.D.E. Festival.[84] The group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1995; Allman was severely inebriated and could not make it through his acceptance speech. Seeing the ceremony broadcast on television later, Allman was mortified, providing a catalyst for his final, successful attempt to quit alcohol and substance abuse. During the 1996 run at the Beacon, turmoil came to a breaking point between Allman and Betts, nearly causing a cancellation of a show and causing another band breakup. "We were upstairs in our dressing rooms [...] I'm sitting there thinking, 'This is it. This is how it finally ends,'" said Trucks. Haynes and Woody left to focus on Gov't Mule, feeling as though a break was imminent with the Allman Brothers Band.

Later years (1997–2014)[edit]

The group recruited Oteil Burbridge of the Aquarium Rescue Unit to replace Woody on bass, and Jack Pearson on guitar. Concerns arose over the increasing loudness of Allman Brothers shows, which were largely centered on Betts. Pearson, struggling with tinnitus, left as a result following the 1999 Beacon run. Trucks phoned his nephew, Derek Trucks, to join the band for their thirtieth anniversary tour. Trucks was very young, at age 20, and younger than any of the original members when the band formed. "It was an honor to be part of such a great institution from the start," said Derek Trucks. "When I first got the gig, I was just trying to maintain the spirit of the whole thing while hopefully bringing some fire to it, hoping to hold up my end while also expressing my own voice." The Beacon run in 2000, captured on Peakin' at the Beacon, was ironically considered among the band's worst performances; an eight-show spring tour led to even more strained relations in the group. "It had ceased to be a band—everything had to be based around what Dickey was playing," said Allman. Anger boiled over within the group towards Betts, which led to all original members sending him a letter, informing him of their intentions to tour without him for the summer.

Derek Trucksjoined in 1999 and became the band's youngest member.

All involved contend that the break was temporary, but Betts responded by hiring a lawyer and suing the group, which led to a permanent divorce. "I had no idea that I would be snapped out of the picture. I thought it was cruel and impersonal," said Betts. Allman was finally sober and felt more miserable shows with Betts would be a waste of time. Betts later received a cash settlement, which is subject to a confidentiality agreement; he went on to record new music with a new band.Jimmy Herring joined the band for the summer tour, where the band fought negative press; fans contended that attending shows by an Allman Brothers Band without Betts was pointless.[7] Herring exited shortly after the tour, as he felt guilty that he would replace Betts. That August, former bassist Allen Woody was found dead in a hotel room in New York. Warren Haynes set up a benefit show for his former bandmate, which featured the Allman Brothers Band. With Derek Trucks unavailable, he sat in for the set. In 2001, Haynes rejoined the band for their Beacon run: "It was my first time with the band in four years and it was very comfortable," he remarked.

This incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band was well-regarded among fans and the general public, and remained stable and productive.[7][84] "This band is the greatest one since Duane and Berry, and why shouldn't it be?" said Jaimoe. The band released their final studio recording, Hittin' the Note (2003), to critical acclaim.[84] The record was the first to feature Derek Trucks and the only Allman Brothers album to not feature Betts. The band continued to tour throughout the 2000s, remaining a top touring act, regularly attracting more than 20,000 fans.[7] The decade closed with a successful run at the Beacon Theatre, in celebration of the band's fortieth anniversary. "That [2009 run] was the most fun I've ever had in that building," said Allman, and it was universally regarded within the band as a career highlight.[84] The run featured numerous special guests, including Eric Clapton, whom all in the band regarded as the most "special" guest, due to his association with Duane. Allman had a liver transplant in 2010, and suffered health setbacks for the following two years. He went to rehab in 2012 for addiction following his medical treatments.

David "Frankie" Toler (born David Wayne Toler on June 28, 1951)[151] died at a hospice care in Bradenton, Florida on June 4, 2011 after a long illness following a liver transplant at the age of 59.[152][153][154]

In 2012, the Allman Brothers started their own music festival, The Peach, which features many associated acts and many genres in addition to two Allman Brothers performances. They played a run at the Beacon in 2013 per tradition and after continued to tour. In 2014, Haynes and Derek Trucks announced their intention to depart the group at the end of the year.[155] The group intended their 2014 run of Beacon shows to be their last, but the residency was cut short when Allman developed bronchitis.[156] However, in September 2014, the group played the iconic At Fillmore East album at the Lockn' music festival in Arrington, Virginia.

In early 2014, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced that they would be leaving the band at the end of the year and the group decided to retire from touring. Gregg Allman stated, "This is it—this is the end of it. Forty-five years is enough and I want to do something else anyway."[157] The Allman Brothers Band performed its final show on October 28, 2014 at the Beacon Theatre.[158] The show was the 238th straight sellout for the band at the Beacon.[159] The concert consisted of three sets, comprising mostly music from their first five records,[160] with no guest musicians sitting in. "We had a band meeting and decided no guest sit-ins. We're going out with just the band," Allman told reporters.[161] Following the sets, which ran into the early morning hours, the band joined together center stage and took a bow, with Allman recalling the group's first rehearsal 45 years prior:[160] "I was called to come and meet these guys in Jacksonville, Florida, [...] on March 26, 1969. Now, we're gonna do the first song we ever played."[156] Following this, the band performed "Trouble No More" by Muddy Waters. During the night's intermissions, a video screen displayed a message: "The road indeed goes on forever. So stay calm, eat a peach and carry on..."[160]

Subsequent activities[edit]

In January 2017, founding member Butch Trucks died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That May, founding member Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer at the age of 69, putting an end to any possibilities of a reunion.

In January 2020, the five surviving members of the final Allman Brothers lineup, calling themselves the Brothers, announced their intentions to hold a show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band on March 10 at Madison Square Garden.[162][163] The concert lasted over four hours, with Duane Trucks taking the place of his uncle on drums, proto-Allmans member Reese Wynans taking the place of Gregg Allman on organ, and Warren Haynes taking on Gregg Allman's vocal parts. In addition pianist and past member Chuck Leavell joined the band for about half the numbers played. (Dickey Betts was invited to participate but his health precluded him from traveling although he wished the event be successful.[164]) Like the final Beacon show, the Brothers 50 concert was dominated by material from the group's first five albums. The show was one of the last large concerts to take place before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in North America forced the shutdown of such events; some people accordingly did not go to it, and indeed especially due to the older demographic of the group's fan base, Derek Trucks would subsequently wonder whether it had been wise to move forward with it.[164]

Musical style and influences[edit]

The Allman Brothers Band have generally been considered one of the pioneering bands in Southern rock, although the group distanced itself from the term. Guitarist Dickey Betts was most vocal about this classification, which he considered unfair: "I think it's limiting. I'd rather just be known as a progressive rock band from the South. I'm damned proud of who I am and where I'm from, but I hate the term 'Southern rock.' I think calling us that pigeonholed us and forced people to expect certain types of music from us that I don't think are fair." Gregg Allman also saw the "Southern rock" tag as redundant, saying it was like saying "rock rock" due to rock and roll being born in the South.[166] The band was certainly at the forefront of the genre's popularity in the early 1970s; the breakthrough of At Fillmore East led their hometown of Macon to become flooded with "Southern rock" groups. Despite this, the group has continued to remove itself from the term. "The problem I have is a lot of people associate it with rednecks and rebel flags and backward mentality. That has never been representative of the Allman Brothers Band," said guitarist Warren Haynes.

The group largely infused hints of the blues, jazz, and country into their music. They all avidly shared their record collections with one another during the early days of the band. For example, Betts was into country music and the guitar work of Chuck Berry, while Trucks was largely into groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. Duane and Gregg Allman grew infatuated with rhythm and blues in their teens, collecting records by James Brown, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Howlin' Wolf. The brothers were also heavily influenced by guitarist Taj Mahal and his 1968 eponymous debut album. It was this influence that led both to their discovery of their now famous slide guitar style.[170] Drummer Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson largely introduced the group to jazz. While Betts commented that he was interested in artists such as Howard Roberts prior, Jaimoe "really fired us up on it," introducing his bandmates to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Duane Allman was also inspired by Howard Roberts, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, and Kenny Burrell. The source of the band's modal jamming in their earliest days was Coltrane's rendition of "My Favorite Things" and Davis' "All Blues", which Jaimoe occasionally stole from: "I did a lot of copying, but only from the best." This type of jazz-infused jamming is expressed in the instrumental "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", which focuses heavily on improvisation.[173] "Whipping Post" was notable for its inclusion of blues-ballad themes,[174] and became one of the most popular (and longest) compositions.[175] Later, Betts generally led the band in a more "country" direction following Duane's passing; their only hit single "Ramblin' Man" was considered so unusually "country" for the group they were initially reluctant to record it.

Duane Allman created the idea of having two lead guitarists, which was inspired by Curtis Mayfield; "[he] wanted the bass, keyboards, and second guitar to form patterns behind the solo rather than just comping," said Allman. Their style and incorporation of guitar harmonies was very influential on later musicians. "The pair also had a wide range of complementary techniques, often forming intricate, interlocking patterns with each other and with the bassist, Berry Oakley, setting the stage for dramatic flights of improvised melodies." Dickey Betts' playing was very melody-based; "My style is just a little too smooth and round to play the blues stuff straight, because I'm such a melody guy that even when I'm playing the blues, I go for melody first," he said. His listening of country and string bluegrass growing up influenced this considerably: "I played mandolin, ukulele, and fiddle before I ever touched a guitar, which may be where a lot of the major keys I play come from." He later characterized their style as "question and answer, anticipation and conclusion," which involved allowing each musician's downbeat to arrive in a different spot, while also keeping consideration of the bass guitar lines.

The group also held an improvisational approach to live performances, which connected the band with jam band culture. "Jazz and blues musicians have been doing this for decades, but I think they really brought that sense that anyone onstage can inspire anyone else at any given time to rock music," said Haynes. "We sure didn't set out to be a "jam band" but those long jams just emanated from within the band, because we didn't want to just play three minutes and be over," said Allman.Rolling Stone referred to the group as "without question the first great jam band, and they took the jam to heights that it had not previously reached."[181]


The Allman Brothers Band were considerably influential within the Southern United States. Their arrival on the musical scene paved the way for several other notable Southern rock bands—among those Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie—to achieve commercial success, and also "almost single-handedly" made Capricorn Records into "a major independent label".[7]Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, writing for Rolling Stone, wrote that the group "defined the best of every music from the American South in that time. They were the best of all of us."[181] He went on to call the band "a true brotherhood of players—one that went beyond race and ego. It was a thing of beauty."[181] The band's extended popularity through heavy touring in the early 1990s created a new generation of fans, one that viewed the Allmans as pioneers of "latter-day collegiate jam rock".[84]AllMusic praised the band's history: "they went from being America's single most influential band to a shell of their former self trading on past glories, to reach the 21st century resurrected as one of the most respected rock acts of their era."[7]

In 2012, an official historic marker was erected on the site of the July 1970 Second Atlanta International Pop Festival near Byron, Georgia. The Allman Brothers Band had played two sets at the festival, which was a significant event in their career. The marker text reads, in part: "Over thirty musical acts performed, including... Macon's Allman Brothers Band on their launching pad to national fame."[182] Official sponsors of the marker included the Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association, The Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House, and Hittin' the Note. In 2003, the band released a recording of their festival opening and closing performances, Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival: July 3 & 5, 1970.[183]

In 2018, Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman), Duane Betts (son of Dickey Betts), and Berry Duane Oakley (son of Berry Oakley) formed a band called the Allman Betts Band.[184]

Awards and recognition[edit]


Main article: The Allman Brothers Band discography

The Allman Brothers Band placed more emphasis on their live performances rather than albums. "We get kind of frustrated doing the [studio] records," said Duane Allman in 1970. Consequently, this listing includes all studio albums and major live releases (several other live releases have been issued retrospectively).[194]

  • The Allman Brothers Band (1969)
  • Idlewild South (1970)
  • At Fillmore East (1971, live)
  • Eat a Peach (1972, part live)
  • Brothers and Sisters (1973)
  • Win, Lose or Draw (1975)
  • Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas (1976, live)
  • Enlightened Rogues (1979)
  • Reach for the Sky (1980)
  • Brothers of the Road (1981)
  • Seven Turns (1990)
  • Shades of Two Worlds (1991)
  • An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: First Set (1992, live)
  • Where It All Begins (1994)
  • An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set (1995, live)
  • Peakin' at the Beacon (2000, live)
  • Hittin' the Note (2003)
  • One Way Out (2004, live)


Main article: List of The Allman Brothers Band members

  • Duane Allman – guitar, slide guitar (1969–1971)
  • Gregg Allman – organ, piano, guitar, vocals (1969–1976, 1978–1982, 1986, 1989–2014)
  • Dickey Betts – guitar, slide guitar, vocals (1969–1976, 1978–1982, 1986, 1989–2000)
  • Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson – drums, percussion (1969–1976, 1978–1980, 1986, 1989–2014)
  • Berry Oakley – bass, vocals (1969–1972)
  • Butch Trucks – drums, timpani (1969–1976, 1978–1982, 1986, 1989–2014)
  • Chuck Leavell – piano, synthesiser, background vocals (1972–1976, 1986)
  • Lamar Williams – bass (1972–1976)
  • David Goldflies – bass (1978–1982)
  • Dan Toler – guitar (1978–1982, 1986)
  • Mike Lawler – keyboards (1980–1982)
  • David "Frankie" Toler – drums (1980–1982)
  • Warren Haynes – guitar, slide guitar, vocals (1989–1997, 2000–2014)
  • Johnny Neel – keyboards, harmonica, vocals (1989–1990)
  • Allen Woody – bass, background vocals (1989–1997)
  • Marc Quiñones – percussion, drums, background vocals (1991–2014)
  • Oteil Burbridge – bass, vocals (1997–2014)
  • Jack Pearson – guitar, slide guitar, vocals (1997–1999)
  • Derek Trucks – guitar, slide guitar (1999–2014)
  • Jimmy Herring – guitar (2000)

See also[edit]



  1. ^"The Allman Brothers Band – Biography – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  2. ^Greene, Andy (March 25, 2015). "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Jam Bands". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  3. ^Matt Soergel, Matt (February 21, 2019). "Allman Brothers Band began in old house on Riverside Avenue". The Florida Times-Union. GateHouse Media. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  4. ^"Gold & Platinum – RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  5. ^"The Immortals". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 17, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  6. ^ abcdefghijklmnoEder, Bruce. "The Allman Brothers Band". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  7. ^Cannady, Sheryl (April 5, 2005). "Librarian of Congress Names 50 Recordings to the 2004 National Recording Registry". Library of Congress.
  8. ^ abcdefghiSerpick, Evan (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1136 pp. First edition, 2001.
  9. ^Melody Maker, May 25, 1974, p.1
  10. ^Muziekkrant Oor, August 1, 1974, p.5, review
  11. ^"1974 Knebworth Festival,The Bucolic frolic". Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  12. ^Melody Maker, July 27, 1974, p. 9, review
  13. ^Rock&Folk, septembre 1974, p.64, review
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Allman Brown is a singer/songwriter from London, United Kingdom.

Allman Brown is an artist who has played shows all over London, New York and Paris. He has worked with many talented people, most recently the lovely Lowell and Liz Lawrence. He is currently planning a release of an EP with Akira Records

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Allman Brown - Ancient Light (Official Video)


By Nicolle Monico

If you were listening close enough last season during an especially emotional moment on NBC's "Parenthood," you may have heard Allman Brown's beautifully written song "Sons and Daughters" playing in the background. For me, it was when vocalist Liz Lawrence joined him on the chorus, filling his melodies with wonderfully placed harmonies, that I knew I had to hear more. Since Shazam'ing the song, it has been on rotation regularly, shared with coworkers and on social media sites and has led me to his new four-song EP.


His raw sound drips with heartfelt emotion, so much so that it's easy to connect with him even after the first listen. Recently, Brown spoke with us about Ancient Light which was released on June 16, 2014 with Akira Records, where he sees himself fitting into today's music scene and his favorite spot to write music (you'll never guess where).

Having released a prior EP back in September 2013, his Sons & Daughters trio of songs, Brown shared how the process for this EP through Akira Records was a new experience. "The EP was different because I was suddenly in an environment with lots of producers and managers and talking to labels, there was a lot of business to it which I wasn't used to," shared Brown. "The recording was quite laborious, there was a lot of self-referential editing. You know it has to be three minutes for the radio, it has to sound like this... I don't think that's very organic. So my first EP, for me in my heart, is Sons and Daughters."

When listening to the title track to his 2013 EP, the lyrics seem at once effortlessly simple and wonderfully powerful. Brown paints a picture of a couple doing nothing more than living, experiencing the day-to-day by taking care of the small things like setting the table and enjoying red wine together.

"I found when I was writing songs I was choosing sort of larger-than-life moments, or really extraordinary moments like your first kiss, these really big romantic ideals. I just tried to sort of distill it and think, the stuff that's really important to me [are the] everyday things," said Brown. "So the whole idea is just two people in the house, because when you're really close to someone--it happens to be a romantic relationship in this case--but when you're really close to someone, you kind of then view objects in your life or the space that you occupy with that meaning." This snapshot argues Brown's point that love is not only found in chocolates and roses, but in everyday conversations over homemade dinners.


From recording the first track to its final release, Sons & Daughters was his project. He loved the songs and believed in them, making it much easier to produce. "[It] was like a bullet from a gun; I sat down and said these are the songs I love and there was no pressure on it, so we just released it." As he explained, it was clear he saw the benefits of working with Akira Records, but also understood the changes that come with growing in your career professionally.

On Ancient Light, Brown makes a noticeable shift from melancholic songs to more upbeat melodies, which may be due to his current relationship status. Crediting his girlfriend and a more contented environment, Brown admitted that he has tried to tap into those brighter feelings in order to feed into his music.


"I listened to the old EP and thought, 'Oh those are all kinds of sad,' so just musically I thought it'd be fun to try and write something upbeat," said Brown. "I thought that I'd done the whole slow song thing and would try to get a drum beat in there. Also when you play live, if you play five lovely slow songs in a row, that's all great but a crowd usually wants something they can move a little bit to, a little bit of variety."

Showcasing a more mature sound, Ancient Light is filled with velvety vocals and strong instrumentation, even recalling the likes of Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. Lyrically, the London-born artist knows his way around words; in the interview alone his thoughts rang poetic for many of his answers. In describing his favorite lyric which is heard on "Foolish Love," he had this to say, "I recently watched the entirety of "Lost" again on Netflix from start to finish. And that lyric 'Do you stare at the lights, lost but happy to be so?,' I really like that because [it's the] idea of when you're enraptured by something, kind of like a cityscape when you're just looking at it and you sort of just vanish into the feeling."

"Which is kind of what music is for me, when you are spellbound by something, whether it's Hall & Oates or AC/DC [...] you are captivated by it for a second or five minutes and you just fall into it. And that lyric for me, that's what that is about. You see something, you feel something and then you vanish into it for a few moments and then you materialize back out of it," finished Brown.


Speaking of music writing, where does the unsigned artist like to create his art? His bathroom. Of course, for anyone who enjoys really good acoustics, this should come as no surprise. But Brown correlates it to Baz Luhrmann films, explaining why having to play softly as to not disturb the neighbors is to his benefit.

"I really love Baz Luhrmann but I love his older movies like "Romeo and Juliet," "Strictly Ballroom," he was in some way restrained, [...] where as in his later movies like "Australia" and "The Great Gatsby" more recently, he has all this money and all this time and he kind of splurges," explained Brown. "And the bathroom is kind of like a producer saying, 'No try harder,' it forces you to be quiet and listen to the lyrics and think about, 'Am I going to go faster at this point?' If I go faster and louder then I have to risk disturbing the people upstairs, so it has to really be worth it."


Now that Brown has released his EP, he hopes to tour in October and record a full length album in 2015. That is, only if he's written more songs. He isn't content regurgitating older pieces but would rather create new ones for an upcoming album. Brown draws inspiration from his "musical god" Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), as well as Ryan Adams, Ben Harper, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga (okay, he may have thrown that in there as a joke). But with those powerhouses as his backdrop, he's likely to put out a great record in the future.

Leaving off with advice to budding musicians looking to turn their art into a career, he stressed the importance of never giving up. "It sounds weird, but say 'Yes' to everything. If someone offers you a gig, play the gig. [...] Never give up just always play, always try, if someone says 'You wanna write a song together?' just say 'Yes,'' declared Brown. "You know maybe it won't work out but all you've wasted is time. Never be intimidated by a scenario. If something feels like 'Oh I can't do this,' and then you do it, you realize 'Oh okay, I can do that.' You will never not learn something from trying, you will always learn something"


Both Ancient Light and Sons & Daughters are available on iTunes and we highly recommend purchasing both to get a better idea of Brown as an artist. Allman Brown is still relatively new in the music world and hasn't fully been discovered yet, so do yourself a favor and impress your friends by finding him before the masses.

All photos courtesy of Allman Brown


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Allman Brown - Sweetest Thing (Lyrics in CC)


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